An assault on the senses.
The sound of screams. Agony. Pleading. Echoing against the stone walls and the vaulted ceiling. The sounds of mad science – arcing electricity, pounding generators.
The smell of blood. Thick and coppery. So thick that it can be tasted.
Red is the first color of the room. Blood in its many varieties of red. The red banners of the Blood Reich which hang and sway from the ceiling, on the walls, the pillars that hold up the ceiling.
Camilla licks her lips and smiles, all fangs and pleasure, as she enters the room and closes the heavy wooden door behind her. It’s a large stone room in the lower levels of the castle, with a vaulted ceiling, pillars hung the banners of the Blood Reich. This is the realm of Schefflen, mad scientist, necromancer, who, for the first time in his exceptionally perverse life, has been given free rein to experiment to his heart’s content.
In the center of the room is his most current experiment. A large metal vat, around ten feet tall, made of welded steel and perhaps fifteen feet in diameter. The walls of the vat are covered in symbols that are the bastard offspring of an orgy of alchemy, the periodic table, modern medical science, mathematics, and physics. Not all of them have been drawn in blood.
Stairs go up the side of the vat to a metal mesh catwalk that runs around the rim of the vat, on the inside. One by one, prisoners – some are soldiers by the tatters of the their uniforms, all armies, including Italian and German, and some are North Africans in civilian clothes – are dragged through a door on the other side of the room and up the stairs to the catwalk. They are the source of the screams.
Vampires, naked but for rubber aprons, force the prisoners to their knees on the catwalk. The prisoners struggle, do all they can to break free save themselves, but are helpless against the abhuman strength of the vampires. With a flourish, the vampires cut the prisoners’ throats, using blades that Schefflen has consecrated himself. The blood pours through the catwalk mesh and into the vat. The vampires laugh, lick the blades, some even caper and dance. Most of the vampires are sexually aroused, hard underneath the rubber aprons.
Camilla gives a little shiver of delight. Visible through her white gown, her nipples become erect. A shard of memory surfaces and she sees painting of Hell, lit by candles in a church some centuries ago. Yes, she decides, this is a little like what Bosch painted. But so much more beautiful.
Machines surround the vat, are part of the vat. On opposite sides of the vat, inside it, suspended in the blood, are two tall metal poles, crowned with metal circles. The metal circles arc with electricity and spit lightning. Cables run from the poles to the machines around the vat which are covered in gauges, huge bulky fuses, and switches. Several desks and portable chalkboards create an odd collegiate accent to the scene.
A large statue of Set, so tall that its head brushes the ceiling, flanked by stone panels carved thick with hieroglyph, watches over the experiment. The flashes of electricity from the vat cast strange shadows on the statue’s face. Sometimes, it seems like Set smiles. Sometimes, there are fangs.
Schefflen and his assistants scurry around, checking gauges and and adjusting dials on the machinery around the vat. Camilla looks and sees von Regensberg standing behind Schefflen. Camilla takes a moment to admire von Regenberg’s body. Pure killing beast. But she knows that all she can do is look. This one belongs to the mistress. Later, she will pick one of the vampires, maybe that one up there on the catwalk, so lovely covered in blood, and they will slake their lusts.
Dwelling on the lovely images summoned by that thought, the handmaiden walks up behind von Regensberg and decides to listen to what he has to say to Schefflen before announcing herself.
The officer stands there for a moment before he realizes that no one is paying any attention to him and then he raises his voice. “Herr Doktor Professor Schefflen!”
Camilla smirks when the scientist completely ignores von Regensberg. Instead of responding to the aristocratic summons, the disheveled gnome in his bloody lab coat continues to mutter to himself as he scrutinizes some dials. “Electrical levels are dropping… too much blood… not enough death…” He steps back and shouts up to the vampires on the catwalk. “You are killing them too fast! Extend the death agonies! Make them suffer!”
This is an order that any vampire is happy to receive and the butchers up on the vat eagerly set to work. The screams heighten to an even greater crescendo. Camilla sighs in pleasure, licks her lips again.
This time, von Regensberg raises his voice and makes it an order. “Herr Doktor Professor!”
At least he’s acknowledged this time, if only with a waved hand. “Not now! This is a delicate process and I mustn’t be disturbed!”
The kids gloves were always very thin, almost non-existent, and now they come off. The Nazi officer strides forward and pulls Schefflen away from his machinery. His voice is arrogant iron, reinforced with a vampire’s rage. “You forget your place, Doktor! I require a report.”
The insane mortal is insane but not that insane. He folds immediately into hand wringing obsequeness. “Oh, Sturmbannfuhrer, I had no idea it was you. I am constantly distracted by underlings who needlessly bother me with the slightest of problems.” He pulls a rag from a coat pocket and rubs the blood from his hands and calls to an assistant. “Heinrich! Keep an eye on the levels! Inform me immediately if they go above 75 or below 35.” Schefflen keeps an eye on the assistant until he’s satisfied that his orders are being followed, then he bows to von Regensberg. “So, Sturmbannfuhrer, what would you like to know first?”
The Sturmbannfuhrer looks up at the vat and traces the winding cables with his eyes. “I can see that the death energy of the prisoners is being fed into the vat, but to what purpose?”
“It strengthens the blood, makes it even more powerful. When those of your race partake of the blood of a human, you gain those powers which make you the perfect ubermensch. But with this blood, when you partake of it, there will be even more power.” His tone is that of a salesman combined with a professor lecturing a class of one.
Von Regensberg starts to walk around the vat and speaks without looking at Schefflen, who is scurrying behind. “In what way?”
“I estimate that, at the very least, your race will no longer be as vulnerable to sunlight.”
The Nazi vampire stops and turns to look directly at the mad scientist. He’s a hard sell. “I do note certain evasive words, Herr Doktor Professor. You estimate. At the very least. Has any of this been proven?”
This question strikes directly at Schefflen’s pride and his intellectual arrogance. It makes him so angry that he forgets some of his fear. He stands straight and looks directly at the monster in front of him. “I do not speak of theory, Sturmbannfuhrer. I speak of fact! What you see now proves my theories! The Countess has given me this opportunity to create this machinery from my theories.” A particularly bright flash of electricity punctuates his words. “I have given this blood to some of your soldiers and they have proven to be faster and stronger than those who have not been given this blood. I have charts which prove this conclusively!” Schefflen turns to one of the desks and begins to shuffle through the papers piled high there.
“My apologies, Herr Doktor Professor. I meant no insult to you or your work. I was unaware of the progress that you’ve made.” Then von Regensberg’s voice hardens slightly. “Though, in the future, it would be proper to consult with me before performing any experiments on my men.”
Schefflen turns back to the vampire. “Yes, I meant to, I am sorry, Sturmbannfuhrer, for not following procedure. I allowed my enthusiasm to get the better of me.”
Von Regensberg accepts the apology with an aristocratic nod. “You say -” He stops, then starts again. “You’ve proven that you can infuse death energy into blood and that when ingested by my kind, we will become more powerful. That is a great achievement. But this plan of our mistress, the Countess. She is going to take the work you’ve done and make it even more powerful through some magic of her own. Do I have that right?”
“Yes, that is precisely right!” The professor praises the apt pupil.
Still in the background, unnoticed, Camilla is impressed by von Regenberg’s control. At his age, a relative new born vampire, she would have allowed her rage to take over and would have slowly killed this annoying little pest with his snide insults. Something to be said for military training, she supposes.
“What does this magic consist of? How risky is this magic?” Von Regensberg has reached the core of his worry.
“Our mistress, the Countess, has used the centuries, the millennia, of her existence to become very knowledgeable in the magic of death, necromancy. It comes very naturally to her. She has designed a ritual to link herself to this blood and, through her, the power of the blood to all those of your race that she has created. The ritual comes with some risk, that is true. She will be bleeding herself into the vat. For the ritual to work, she must come very close to death, the true death.”
“It sounds very risky, indeed!” For an aristocratic Nazi vampire, von Regensberg seems distinctly worried. “Is there no one else who can risk their lives instead of her? Our cause, her cause, it cannot survive without her.”
“I will not lie, you are correct, it is very risky. But you should not doubt the Countess! She has powers beyond our imaginings!” Schefflen’s voice is shrill above the sounds of the screams. His hands fly about to emphasize his words and Camilla thinks that he might go so far as to grab von Regensberg by his uniform. She’d have to step in if he was so stupid. Von Regensberg would kill him for that and the Countess still needs Schefflen alive. But he’s not lost all sense and his hands come nowhere near the vampire’s lapels. “And the benefits, Sturmbannfuhrer, think of the benefits! Such power will be granted to all those of her blood, not just the resistance to sunlight, but also the ability to shapeshift. Even those as I in her service, though not of your race, will be granted greater longevity.”
“You are right. I should trust her. I MUST trust her.” Von Regensberg stiffens his spine, then turns a cold look into Schefflen. “And I am trusting you as well, Herr Doktor Professor. I am trusting you and your science. We all are. You are to live up to our trust, understand?”
Schefflen finds the spine from somewhere and doesn’t flinch from von Regensberg’s gaze. “The Countess will find fault in neither myself or my work!”
Von Regensberg relents and gives the little madman a gracious nod. “If it is as you say, then we soldiers in her army will be unstoppable. I look forward to that day with every fiber of my being.”
“All hail the Blood Reich!”
The Sturmbannfuhrer return the salute with a click of his heels. “All hail!”
Seeing as how the conversation is over, Camilla thinks about what she’ll report to her mistress and walks forward, making herself known to the man and the vampire. She ignores the man. “Sturmbannfuhrer, I am to escort you to the Countess. She waits for you in her chambers.” Youth, she thinks to herself as she sees his pupils dilate and his body tense. He’s still close enough to his humanity to react the way the living do to the anticipation of sex. Then she realizes that she is still aroused by the death and the blood and screams, her nipples still hard, and she acknowledges that those reactions never do go away. Blood sprays from the carnage on the catwalk above. Camilla lifts a hand and licks the blood drops from it, her gaze never leaving Von Regensberg.
“Then -” Von Regensberg clears his throat and starts again. “Then let us not keep her waiting.” He turns to Schefflen. “Herr Doktor Professor, thank you for your report. You have been most helpful.”
He’s speaking to the man’s back. The scientist has already turned away and is back to studying the machinery around the vat. “Yes, yes, I am at your service and HER service. The work is all… The calibrations must be precise.”
Camilla smiles politely, meaninglessly, no fangs, at von Regensberg. “Shall we go, Sturmbannfuhrer?”
He nods and they walk towards back to the door that Camilla came through. He holds it open for her and she rewards his politeness with a nod. As they proceed down the hallway leading to the stairway going to the upper levels of the castle, she’s unsurprised when he begins to talk. He’s clearly been working himself up to this for sometime.
“You have known your mistress for some time, have you not, Camilla?”
Politics. She can tell by his tone. Truthfully, she’s surprised it hasn’t come up earlier. It takes some time for new borns to stop caring about human politics. She stopped caring around the time of the during the 30 Years War. This one is still influenced by the racial politics of the Reich. He hasn’t yet fully realized that the only division that matters now is the one between the living and the dead.
In any event, Camilla’s pleased that he’s asking about this. It means that she’ll have some more to report to her Mistress. And won’t that make Illana jealous! Another inward shiver of pleasure. Illana turns into a perfect beast when she’s jealous. None of this reaches either her expression of polite understanding or her tone which invites him to continue. “I was taken into her service in the year 1453. Ask your questions, Sturmbannfuhrer, I may even answer them.”
“I am a soldier of the Reich. Long before I met the Countess, I gave my heart and soul to the cause.” He pauses and thinks of how to best continue. Camilla’s steps are silent next to the echoing sound of his bootheels in the stairway. “But to serve her, a non-Aryan, who is so powerful, I still find myself uneasy at times. What can you tell me about her? How is she so powerful?”
A killing beast but still a child begging forgiveness for breaking the rules. Wait until she tells Illana! She’ll cry blood from laughing so hard! She shouldn’t be so contemptuous, she undoubtedly had similar worries when she first drank the blood of a child. But, no, she is still contemptuous.
She thinks for a bit on how best to answer him, making sure to keep her true feelings hidden. She figures out how to do that when they walk down the hallway leading to Bathory’s chambers. The hallway is lined with stone panels taken from an Egyptian temple. No electrical lights here, just flickering torches. The shadows make the hieroglyphs move. Camilla stops and points to them, bringing von Regensberg’s attention to one stone panel in particular. “Cast aside your doubt, Sturmbannfuhrer. The Countess is far older than you might imagine. She gains her power from a source more ancient than any dreamed of by the Reich. She was a priestess of Set and was transformed when the Pyramids were new!”
The panel indicated by Camilla’s pointing finger shows a temple scene, bowing and prostrated figures, the High Priest, all overseen by Set, the flared hood of his snake head clearly visible, as are his fangs.